These monuments to eggs, sushi and shrimp can be found at a shrine called Namiyoke Inari Jinja (波除稲荷神社), next to Tsukiji Fish Market. The monuments are dedicated to the eggs and sea creatures that sacrificed their lives so that we could eat them. (Yes, definitely “only in Japan”.)
Here’s the Tamago-zuka (玉子塚) or grave for eggs:
The photo below is the Sushi-zuka (すし塚) and Ebi-zuka (海老 塚) or grave for shrimp:
Read more here (E) and here (J).
When the end of the year approaches, Japan starts cleaning, and a country that’s already as neat as a pin becomes positively pristine. It’s called osōji (お掃除), the big cleaning before the New Year, and you’re supposed to clean every nook and cranny, every corner and cupboard, until it’s spotless. Houses do it, restaurants do it, temples do it.
Yesterday morning I saw a priest patiently cleaning every item in his small temple in Meguro, looking remarkably jolly about his gargantuan task. As I took a photo of some items on the veranda, he stepped into view. I rather like the end-result of the bowls on the wooden floor, and the two socks entering the scene. He wasn’t angry with me; as a matter of fact, I got a big grin.
This rope is called a shimenawa (注連縄 or “enclosing rope”), and it’s used to mark the boundary between the sacred and the profane at a shrine, temple or ritual site. This particular one is at Kawasaki Daishi, and it’s part of the temple’s decorations for its New Year celebrations.
This is the latest anti-chikan (groper) poster at a train station. I was going to grumble about Japan’s tendency to cutify everything, but then I hesitated: is this poster cute or is it simply a graphic depiction? I’ve been here so long that my “inappropriate cuteness radar” has been corrupted.
PS: That little critter thingy with the blue hat is Pipo-kun, the police mascot.
It looks like a Japanese passport (thought it’s the wrong colour and some kanji are in the wrong position), but when you open it, it’s a notebook. Cute. I bought it at Maruzen.